Greetings in Christ,
Without going into the fine details, our Church teach two main types of merit. CONGRUENT MERIT and CONDIGN MERIT.
Congruent merit refers to GAINING MERIT FOR OTHERS.
Christ’s merit on the cross was CONGRUENT MERIT, His congruent merit gained for us the gift of salvation, the gift of final perseverance, healing, gifts of the Spirit, etc.
The beneficiary is THE PERSON who performs the condign merit.
This CONDIGN MERIT called supernatural merit or good works.
We are cooperating with the grace of God and God works through us.
This works involved getting more holy (work on to improve our sanctification) and more just (work on to be more just in ourselves). Proclaim the Gospel to everyone, doing charity works.
For Christ’s CONGRUENT MERIT we have (salvation) God’s gift OF heaven.
For our CONDIGN MERIT God has promised us reward IN heaven.
This CONDIGN MERIT sometimes called supernatural merit or good works.
CONDITIONS THAT OUR WORKS COUNT FOR ANYTHING:-
The Catholic Church clearly teaches that one MUST be in a STATE OF GRACE, MUST be a member of the BODY OF CHRIST, MUST be SAVED, MUST be already JUSTIFIED before we do a SINGLE WORK that counts for anything.
Further conditions MUST BE PRESENT to make SUPERNATURAL merit possible:
“The meritorious work must be morally good, that is, in accordance with the moral law in its object, intent, and circumstances.
It MUST be done FREELY, WITHOUT any EXTERNAL COERCION or INTERNAL NECESSITY.
It MUST be SUPERNATURAL, that is, AROUSED and ACCOMPANIED by ACTUAL GRACE, and proceeding from a SUPERNATURAL motive.
Strictly speaking only a person in the STATE OF GRACE can merit, as defined by the Church.” (Denzinger 1576, 1582)
JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING by Jimmy Akin
Quote: “The essence of supernatural love is unselfishness—doing something NOT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP US SOMEHOW, but because we want to do it out of SHEER LOVE for the other person, whether that person is God or one of our fellow human beings out of the love of God.
This is THE ONLY KIND of love that ultimately pleases God and therefore the ONLY KIND that ultimately gets us a reward IN heaven.” End quote. Emphasis mine.
In my opinion:-
a. The interpretation of any Bible verse which we conclude; work is a condition of our salvation, that conclusion is incorrect.
b. The interpretation of any Church doctrine which we conclude; work is a condition of our salvation, that conclusion is also incorrect.
c. Unless we believe work is not a condition of our salvation, we can never do good works that God accepts, because we do it for ourselves to purchase salvation and not for Love and for the Glory of God.
To believe work is NOT a condition of our salvation PRECEDES good works.
I would like to have the view of the members on the conditions of supernatural merit/good works.
With love in Christ,